Five years ago today, Suarez and Torres crossed paths and changed lanes

January 31st 2011 was the day one arrived at Liverpool and another depart

Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Liverpool,

Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres with Liverpool All-Stars (Picture by: Barrington Coombs / PA Archive/PA Images)

Guess which club Fernando Torres has scored the most career goals against?

Here's a clue: it was the team Atletico Madrid faced - and lost to - yesterday at the Nou Camp.

Needless to say that stadium only ever hosts one club, the mighty Barcelona.

But Torres, who has 10 goals against Barcelona, was nowhere to be seen as his hometown club went down to nine men and lost 2-1 to all but allow Lionel Messi and co to put one hand on the La Liga trophy.

An ankle injury has ruled him out of late, but even so, the talk that Atletico aren't looking to sign him up to a new deal suggests he isn't at the forefront of manager Diego Simeone's mind.

For Barca though, Luis Suarez has been in as good form as he has ever been, scoring the winner yesterday.

But if we were to migrate back to five years ago today, Suarez and Torres' careers were at completely different points.

FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring against Atletico Madrid during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

January 31st 2011 was the day that took the Uruguayan to Liverpool to start a career arc that took him to Champions League glory with Barcelona last summer, while Torres left Anfield with a strong playing reputation that would be tarnished - even though the ex-Spain striker also tasted European Cup glory with Chelsea in 2012.

The transfer to Chelsea never worked out for Torres with just 20 Premier League goals in 110 matches, whereas he managed 65 in fewer games for Liverpool.

But with hindsight, the Atletico Madrid home-town boy had started the slide towards mediocrity just before the £50 million transfer.

His Premier League strike rate had already started to drop from a high of 0.72 goals per game in his first season and 0.81 in his third and penultimate campaign all the way down to 0.39 in his final half-season at Anfield.

The previous season had seen his campaign ravaged by injury, even if he continued to score regularly, but the sense is the fitness problems did take their toll on him, not helped by the knock to confidence caused by the slow start at Chelsea.

Indeed, the sight of Torres collapsing to the turf in agony in extra time of the 2010 World Cup final could be viewed as a marking point between the new and old El Nino as he returned to Liverpool a less potent figure:

But as Nemanja Vidic confirmed his retirement this week, it was also a reminder of Torres' greatness as the one striker who could consistently make the former Manchester United cornerstone look ordinary - especially in Liverpool's 2008-09 title charge.

Meanwhile, Suarez had an excellent playing reputation at Ajax - his first biting incident on PSV's Otman Bakkal notwithstanding - but on a global level, he was still a few echelons below Torres on the day he signed for Liverpool and the latter exited to Stamford Bridge.

Brought in by Kenny Dalglish a few hours before the confirmation of the mind-blowing, more expensive and ultimately disastrous Andy Carroll deal, Suarez took a while to adapt on the pitch.

His first half-season yielded four goals, while his second saw him net 11 Premier League goals, and memory reminds us that he missed a fair share of chances and was often unfortunate when it came the woodwork.

But under the radar of the £35 million deal for Carroll, he was able to find his feet (quite literally) by the time of his second full season to score 30 goals in all competitions, before following it up with his brilliant 2013-14 which almost ended with a first league title since 1990. 

And his departure in summer 2014 was far more amicable than Torres', who put in a transfer request to force through the move to a domestic rival in Chelsea.

In contrast, when Suarez moved, it was abroad and also under the cloud of the controversy generated by his third biting transgression when question marks existed about whether his brilliance truly compensated for all the trouble he was capable of on the pitch.

But also he had less football in his legs in comparison to Torres, given that he made his senior debut for Uruguayan side Nacional at 18. Torres, on the other hand, had already made his debut at 17 and was playing over 30 games a season until his move to Liverpool.

And finally, you get the sense that Suarez is less reliant on his pace and power in order to keep thriving into a later age.